Little Emperors

Is Lauren Sandler right to say one-child families are happier?

Barbara MacMahon, Times June 15th Well this old chestnut returns again! Barbara MacMahon’s article in the Times describes the controversy surrounding Lauren Sandlers new book “One and Only’ — the Freedom of Having an Only Child and the Joy of Being One. Lauren Sandler has been surprised by the level of criticism she has received on her opinion from various people, that only children are not disadvantaged, specifically British author Zadie Smith. Apparently, Louise Doughty is also very scathing about Lauren Sandlers research (Guardian Friday 14 June 2013). Having been interviewed by Lauren when she was researching her book our dialogue on the only child experience seems a little different to what is being stated here by Barbara MacMahon: “In her book Sandler debunks many of these myths. Hundreds of studies, she says, show that being raised alone makes little difference to the person you turn out to be and that there can [...]

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Research in the West and China: Are only children different?

Part 1 In my previous post I looked at the roots of the negative stereotype. Prior to the 20th century the large family was the cultural norm. Having a lot of children was preferable because of high infant mortality and the lack of social benefit for the elderly. The more children you had were a guarantee, that as you became older, there might be someone to look after you. Farming communities in particular, knew it was beneficial to have many children to help with the numerous jobs required. The industrial revolution changed this somewhat, as more mouths to feed did not necessarily generate more food unless everyone had work. It was only when birth control was both more effective and freely available that this situation changed. Now people had a choice about the number of children they had, but the deep-seated idea that having many children was ‘God’s will’ remained. [...]

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